Between 2013 and 2014, Bristol City Council was awarded £5.3m funding to develop a ‘research and development test bed’ which was a part of the ‘Gigabit Bristol Programme ‘funded by DCMS / BDUK’s Super- Connected Cities programme.

Bristol is Open (BiO) was initially set up to deliver this test bed as a joint venture between Bristol City Council and the University of Bristol launched in April 2015, which has resulted in a Smart City Research and Development network platform of multiple communications technologies installed around the city. It can be described as a city-scale research infrastructure for the study of software defined networks, Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data technologies that contribute to smart city solutions.